History wasn’t only my focus in college, its my pastime all the time. I am a volunteer “sitter” for two of my local city’s museums. About once a month, I show up for my appointed hours, unlock the door, turn on the lights, adjust the thermostat, start up any powered displays, and turn out the OPEN sign. For two hours the museum is open that day, I “sit”. I also see if there’s something I can clean or straighten. I read the exhibits so I’m familiar with the interpretive panels, photographs and artifacts that season. I greet visitors, the dedicated few who come, and point them towards what I feel are the most interesting areas if they only have a limited time. If the two hours go by and no guests have come, that’s okay; I get caught up on a lot of reading! Once a visitor asked me why I was there. He meant to hear more than “because I have the key and it’s 2’clock.” My reply went something like, “I love museums, I love history, I love stories about people, places, and things. And I’m friends with the museum’s manager.” I don’t remember if I led with the friends part. I don’t know that it matters. It was actually a very difficult, thought-provoking answer to come up with. It’s not complete. I couldn’t complete it in pages and pages of reasons. It’s too big a WHY that I’m there once a month and once a month at the other. I enjoy it and I get nervous about it. Every time. It matters that the museums have open hours, that the displays are cared for, that visitors to our city and the residents of our city have the opportunity, the responsibility, to learn and to remember and even laugh at the stories that brought us up to the present.
History and Herstory are US.